Anybody who has been following the updates on the COVID-19 pandemic around the world know by now that the United States of America isn't exactly handling the outbreak very well.
The country has recorded close to 3.1 million positive cases so far, with over 133,000 deaths. That's a large chunk of the almost 11.8 million cases and over 544,000 cases worldwide.
Despite that, US president Donald Trump announced in May that the country will be quitting the World Health Organisation (WHO) and he has followed through with an official one-year notice, which will likely see the country leaving the organisation effective 6 July 2021
OK, why does the US (read: Trump) want to leave WHO?
There have been many criticism directed at WHO over the years, but the straw that broke the camel's back when it comes to their relationship with the US was because of the coronavirus.
Trump had accused WHO of showing undue deference to China and failing to provide accurate information on the pandemic.
(Not that the president have been providing science-backed information to public either)
Although things look bad for the WHO and US, the separation may not even come to be if Trump loses the elections in November and Joe Biden (likely) takes over his portfolio.
Why does it matter if the country leaves?
For one, they are the biggest contributor to WHO's funds.
The health organisation was set up in 1948 as a platform for countries from the world to coordinate international health policies especially when it comes to infectious diseases like COVID-19.
According to CNN
, 194 countries make up the WHO and each country has a representative who will be a part of the organisation's decision and policy making.
The organisation also has teams all over the world and work with the locals to provide healthcare assistance and guidance, just like what it has been doing during the COVID-19 pandemic and fighting diseases like polio over the years.
But to do all these work, WHO needs money and who better to provide it than its member countries, especially the rich ones?
They also receive funds from donors, the United Nations and other sources, but the member states also have something like a membership fee plus voluntary contribution.
US is the largest contributor to the organisation.
Between 2018 and 2019, it gave WHO USD893 million (about RM3.8 billion), of which USD237 million (about RM1.01 billion) was in membership dues while the rest were given out of freewill.
This basically means that WHO's work will be impacted by reduced funds.
Things might change from now until July of next year (for example, Trump being kicked out of the White House), so let's hope WHO and the US can find a way to make things work.